Online campaigns may be just be as important in the social media era, as possible election nears.

Social Media

Speculation about a federal election is growing as Canada’s federal leaders hold campaign style events across the country.

Thanks to television, the 1960 U.S. Presidential debate changed the way people vote.

Six decades later, social media has taken the reigns.

“I think at this point, social media is a vital part of any campaign platform,” says Katie Stokes, owner of Blab Media.

Stokes says the latest ways to communicate online help political figures choose the audience they want to reach.

“Utilizing reels and using those short video clips and finding different ways to communicate your message.”

Like targeting young audiences via Tik Tok, a platform one leader has embraced.

“Social media has been a really effective tool and I’ve been able to connect with millions of people that way,” says Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party.

Singh prefers to meet his supporters in person, but understands the importance of connecting with them online.

“As leaders you’ve gotta use every tool possible to connect with people. You gotta speak to people where they are so people are online. It is a reality,” says Singh.

Once an audience is found, engagement is the next step.

“Sometimes it’s about how to create some kind of video or something that sparks a conversation,” says Stokes, who believes Singh is using the tool to his advantage.

“I think he’s done a really good job of looking at a new platform like social media or newer in the sense from a political stand point and figuring out how to craft your messages for those individual platforms.”

Jim Wittebols, a political science professor at the University of Windsor, believes as social media continues to grow, politicians will have no choice but to log on.

“Every election brings this sort of new round of social media innovation.You have to go beyond that to get to people who are actually doing the knowledge work.”

Finding trustworthy information online is always a challenge, according to Wittebols.

“The tweets should inspire people to read and to investigate and not take things in little factoid chunks.”

Whether or not followers leads to voters remains to be seen at the ballot box.